The Surprisingly Therapeutic Aspect of Watching the “Cobra Kai” Series

cobra kai

[Note: this post contains some vague-as-I-could-make-them spoilers]

Like many other martial arts enthusiasts and children of the 1980s, I was very excited to spend the final weekend of August bingeing both seasons of the breakout hit series “Cobra Kai” on Netflix. A friend, who is also a fellow taekwondo black belt, and I had watched the first season together when it debuted on YouTube Red in 2018. We loved it and marveled at how clever and heartfelt it was. 

Much has changed in two years, both on a national and global scale, and also for me personally. I knew I’d be entertained by watching the series, but I didn’t realize how deeply therapeutic it would be. 

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Celebrate Small Wins

small progress

I did something new in physical therapy this week: I rode a stationary bike.

I’m three weeks into ACL reconstruction surgery recovery. The sutures are out, leaving me with only a few small scars (thanks to arthroscopic surgery), and most of the time, I can walk around in my house with just my big leg brace, sometimes with one crutch if I’m tired. I still need a crutch to walk up and down my steep stairs, but I’m getting pretty good at that too. 

I was a little surprised when my physical therapist told me to start with the bike when I entered the clinic Monday morning. I figured he’d want me to do my regular warm-ups to ease the morning stiffness out of my leg. It’s still very difficult to bend my knee beyond ninety degrees. This was going to be interesting. 

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Using Martial Arts Basics To Recover From an Injury

white belt uniform

If you’ve read my blog for a while, you know how I feel about forms. I’ve written over two dozen blog posts about the mental and physical benefits (and inevitable life lessons) of practicing poomsae.

To my surprise, my physical therapist casually mentioned that I should start doing slow-motion forms to work on balance and transferring weight back and forth on my legs. I’m nearly three weeks post-op from ACL reconstruction surgery, and, if I’m careful, I can move around the house with just my leg brace. I was excited about the prospect.

I’ve done forms as mental therapy. I’ve never done them as physical therapy, so this will be a new recovery/martial arts adventure for me.

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Slow to Go Fast

Illustration of race between rabbit and turtle.
Eventually I’ll get there.

According to my mother, I began walking shortly before my first birthday.

Yesterday, about a month after my forty-first birthday, I learned how to walk again. 

I had a 9:00 am physical therapy appointment with Cody, my long-time therapist and injury wizard. He was expecting another patient in thirty minutes, so he decided we would work on walking since I could now put more weight on my right leg (not my full weight, but more than fifty percent), and then I could do the exercises I already knew on my own. 

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Is My Injury Bad For My Image?

model mirror
You can barely see her knee surgery scars from here.

The editing work for my upcoming memoir is finally done, and now I’m dipping my callused toes (from all the roundhouse kicks, of course) into publicity. I’m *thisclose* to selecting a publicist and very excited about the next step of my publishing journey.

The ACL injury and subsequent surgery seem like especially bad timing.
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Knee Surgery: Pre-Op Jokes and Dr. Pepper

syringe
God bless anesthesiologists.

As martial artists, we’ve heard those familiar mantras before: “Fall down seven times, get up eight”; “A black belt is a white belt who refused to give up“; perseverance, indomitable spirt, blah blah blah.

It turns out that martial arts spirit of perseverance and jocky stubbornness to give up has quite come in handy over the last few days. I am four days into recovery from ACL surgery, and recovery has been a full-time job. Let’s go back a few days…

In my last post, I described my worst taekwondo injury to date and following tests and decisions I made with my doctor. We agreed on an ACL repair slated for July 22 at 7 am.

…things didn’t quite go as planned.
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How I Got a Publishing Deal…a Story Told Backward

Publishing contract

Around this time a year ago I submitted draft pages for my memoir Kicking and Screaming: a Memoir of Madness and Martial Arts to hybrid indie publisher She Writes Press. I was at the end of a two week “staycation” to celebrate turning forty. I cherished the time to work out, read, write, take care of my home, do a little shopping, eat, relax, and just enjoy all that time to myself.

At the end of those two weeks I came to two conclusions:
1. I am going to be a very busy retiree when that blessed day comes.
2. I was going to take my dream to publish my memoir in a different direction. More on that in a moment.

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Gordon Ramsay Is My Spiritual Writing Guide

Book_knife
This writer takes “kill your darlings” seriously.

After Americans united for the collective experience of watching “Tiger King,” we all  retreated to our own private means of surviving everything 2020 kept (and keeps) throwing at us.

My coping mechanism has been binge-watching “Kitchen Nightmares” and more recently “Hell’s Kitchen” with world-renowned chef and restauranteur Gordon Ramsay

I love Gordon Ramsay, and I am also terrified of him. For some strange reason, watching him scream at people over scallops, risotto, and raw chicken is so comforting and enjoyable in these dystopian times. 
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Little Black Belt is Six!

Birthday cupcakes in rainbow colors

In the midst of…well…everything, my little blog turns six years old today! Thank you to everyone who has read, commented, and offered support. As usual on my blog’s birthday, I like to share my ten favorite posts from the past year. Enjoy, stay safe, and take care…

  1. Do You Speak Korean In Your Dojang?– I kick it old school.
  2. Someone Is Looking Up To You. Don’t Let Them Down. – A fortune cookie gives sage advice.
  3. Forty Lessons and Blessings Upon Turning Forty – I celebrate a milestone birthday with some reflections.
  4. I Want a Worn Out Black Belt – A black belt isn’t just a symbol of achievement. It’s the story of your journey.
  5. How Kickboxing Upped My Poomsae (Forms) Game– I love finding connections among different martial arts and training techniques. They all contribute to one black belt.
  6. When Being One Step Ahead Slows You Down – Surprise, surprise, I find out that rushing through everything isn’t always the best answer.
  7. You Guys! My Book Is Being Published!– My favorite post (and moment) from the last year!
  8. Taekwondo Is Who I Am– Taekwondo is what makes me feel most authentic, most secure, and most fulfilled.
  9. Fall Out of Your Comfort Zone (Literally) – Sometimes losing control is exactly what you need.
  10. When It’s Crunch Time, Be Agile, Be Ready…and Be Still– I didn’t know how prophetic that last part would be. And here we are, all being still.
    “And the moments of stillness can help us rise above the chaos and stay focused on what is most important and meaningful to us.”

 

Stay tuned for my upcoming book – “Kicking and Screaming: a Memoir of Madness and Martial Arts” published by She Writes Press. Coming to a bookseller near you April 20, 2021!

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